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The inherent disadvantages of medical silicone rubber are the poor performance of X-ray imaging visibility and surface hydrophobicity. X-ray radiopacity of silicone rubber can be achieved by adding with ferrous nanoparticles as radiopaque agents; however, the changes of surface wettability of silicone rubber caused by nanoparticles are still unclear. It is envisaged to improve the hydrophily of those composites by surface treatment.


To investigate the surface wettability, hydrophilic modification and characterization of silastic/ferrous nanoparticle composites.


Both pre-prepared iron nanoparticle enhanced silicone rubber (INESR) and carbon-coated ferric nanoparticle enhanced silicone rubber (Fe/CESR) with formula ratios of 95:5, 90:10 and 85:15 were modified by air dielectric barrier glow discharge (ADBGD). The methyl vinyl silicone rubber (MVSR) was used as control.


Surface water contact angles of both INESR and Fe/CESR slightly decreased than that of MVSR, which indicated that their surface hydrophobic had no significant improvement. After treated by ADBGD, the water contact angles of both INESR with different formula ratios and Fe/CESR decreased (P < 0.05). Scanning electron microscope images showed that the specimen surfaces were etched and more rough, but no holes and cracks occurred. X-ray photoelectron spectroscope images displayed that the chemical composition changed on the treated surfaces, on which oxygen-contained groups significantly increased, while the carbon-based ones significantly reduced, silicon-based groups slightly increased, and nitrogen groups emerged. These results showed that nitrogen was combined with the surfaces. Hydrophlic surfaces of MVSR/ferric nanoparticle composites can be builded through ADBGB modification.

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